BEAUMONT, Texas — Southeast Texas doctors and nurses who have been working overtime for months are excited to see the recent dramatic decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Jefferson County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike White said two months ago, the hospitalization rate peaked at 41%, and now it has fallen to 12%.
On Wednesday, hospitalizations in Jefferson County slightly increased to 102 COVID-19 patients, but recently that number had stayed below 100. Health officials said that overall, we are trending in a good direction.
Along with the rest of the nation, the Southeast Texas area has also seen a decrease in COVID-19 cases. Doctors said they are experiencing a huge drop in COVID-19 related calls and that their offices are beginning to seem a little empty.
“We saw a very sharp decline, somewhat abrupt, from one week to the next in terms of patients calling us with symptoms and letting us know that they're positive,” Dr. Msonthi Levine said.
Baptist Hospital has seen a 75% decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Associate public health professor Dr. Praphul Joshi said at the beginning of September, Jefferson County had 250 coronavirus patients, but that number has dramatically decreased.
“Particularly those who were in ventilators were on 50 in the first week of September, and today, it's around 20,” Joshi said.
According to Joshi, increased vaccination rates and less travel in the month of September are factors that contributed to the downward trend.
“We have seen a consistent pattern in, you know, increase in cases during the peak travel times or holidays,” Joshi said.
Beaumont’s infusion center has also seen a drop in patients coming in for monoclonal antibodies. The center went from giving 200 infusions a day to giving out 50. White said those numbers have had a direct impact on the hospitalization rate.
Health officials said the recent decrease in hospitalizations rates is a good sign for Southeast Texas.
“When you have the immunity brought on by vaccines and then natural immunity via infections, then the ability to spread the community starts to go down,” Dr. Msonthi Levine said.
Southeast Texans are still advised to get vaccinated and wear masks in crowded environments to slow the spread of COVID-19.